Purple reign

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

29 September 2014

Grimsby 3 Hollyoaks City Blues 0

A calm day of watery sun and fun with around 150 Deviants deviously dripping into the covered corner. Are these empty seats I see before me? I see thee yet, though with Town in form as palpable as four points from two tricky away games, it's a tragedy John. With no-one beside you we're going nowhere.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Parslow, Pearson, Nsiala, Magnay, Mackreth, Clay, Brown, Neilson, Hannah, Oates. The substitutes were Walker, McLaughlin, Disley, Arnold and John-Lewis.

You can sort the neat from the naff for the half time meet and greet with one simple question: are you a Primark or Whymark kinda guy? People of youth, look it up. That's when we were kings.

The Charlies from Chester stood around in that old Britpop 4-3-2-1 formation with Seasick Steve in midfield and Jimmy-Hill-on-stilts all alone up front. Today Matthew, they would mostly be wearing purple.

Is it time to start this little thing? There shall, in that time, be rumours of things going astray and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are.

First half: Patches

Town kicked off towards the emptiness with the now usual Brownian motion of chip avoidance. What next? Who's next? Great album. Ooh look, over there, a rabbit.

Oates twizzled and fizzled overly. Oates flicked a punt and, one way and another, Hannah tricked a Deva and gave him the slip, crumping agin Worsnip's chest. Ooh, look, over there, err, something else.

A free kick clumped straight, clumped straight down the middle, and noodling off Nsiala's buzzcut eyebrows for Worsnip to pluck. Personal grooming is important in these days of high definition TV. Ooh look, over there, Chester passing. Very nice. It's important to vary your diet, to have a break from the daily grind.

McKeown, bored of life, wandered out towards the hot dog stand and wallied away. Rooney flat lobbed back. A goal kick. They shot from here, from there, from nowhere. Nowhere men, please listen, we do know that you're missing. Toto's toes tapped, Hannah cut and trimmed way-away.

Don't shoot, don't shoot! Clay shot. A corner. Drooping from the right, arcing and dying into the centre of goal. Pearson arose, thunkled downwards and chortled back to the halfway line as the ball ba-boomed beautifully into the top left corner.

Them. Clipping. Hobson's choice unmarked and dreadfully ducking softly nowhere from six yards. Them. Short cornering. Drifting, dripping, missing all feet. Them. A throw-in thrown near the Police Box. A little chap bouncy dipped powerlessly. McKeown creaked reluctantly to pick up a powder-puff slap at his near post. McKeown flap-punched at a cross. These are their moments, this is their life.

What of Town? Dribbing and drabbing away. Oates has something, seeing possibilities, tapping just in front or just over his new chums. He's six inches better than Town. Town long shots of varying degrees of skew-wiffiness. What's the point of telling you that nothing happened but might have done if it did?

Our studs are too short.

Second half: Slippery when dry

Neither team made any changes at half time.

That's better. That's a lot better. Town players moved. Town players tackled and hassled. Clay clamped and clumped. Let's just ignore his mechanical passing. If Lennie's role is not to score, Clay's is not to pass, and he is excellent at that.

Hannah harried and hurried as Town chipped down the channels. Ticking and tocking in the dead centre of the heart of the Deva half, Hannah flicked around his marker, wrestled and pestled and won the ball back. On he roamed, on he roared, fighting off swarms of Dees. Hannah fluttered, scuttled back into the centre, into the left, and cracked lowly back across the keeper and into the bottom left corner.

Stretched and a little wretched, the Deviants were dawdling and dying a little bit on the inside. Oates bicycle-flicked and Hannah was through on goal. Worsnip stayed upright, stretched out a right foot and diverted the low clop. A Town corner was mumble-fumbled via various heads. A purple swung his boot as Mackreth knicked and was knocked to the turf. Penalty, no worries. Hannah walloped into the same spot he wallops every penalty. No worries. Worsnop waited, swayed left and caught the ball. No worries.

Pressure, pressure, Neilson knocked, Hannah waltzed and dinked over the keeper, across the face of goal to no-one. Oates tired, Oates was still on. Why? The lad had done his work for the day.

Town just stopped.

Rooney dropped a free kick, McKeown dropped onto the ball. Chester counter-attacked and Nsiala swept aside, swept back slowly and Jamie Mack's swipe slapped against Purple, boombling wide. Whoops, nearly an apocalypse.

What are the odds on that? Lennie shoots straight and a purple wanders into the shot? The most wonderful goal of the year was averted by accident

Town? Good question. Neilson chest-volleyed over after a corner was clipped. Hannah laughed a free kick into McDonald's car park. It was all so very dreary. Something better change.

Finally, 20 minutes too late, the drained Oates was replaced by Mr Lenell John-Lewis. There really was no need to boo. Poor old Lennie, that'll make his ears burn. Who's booing now? Le Shop chested and turned, Mackreth chipped, Hannah flicked up and Lennie leathered. What are the odds on that? Lennie shoots straight and a purple wanders into the shot? The most wonderful goal of the year was averted by accident.

Who's booing now? Flick, flick, Parslow clipped, Hannah grazed, Worsnip groped and the ball arced inches away from the bottom right post. Had I told you Neilson was replaced by McLaughlin? I hadn't? I have now. Did I tell you Hannah was replaced by Arnold? I hadn't? I have now.

Doodling and noodling, the Pontoon emptying, Town were prattling about in dozy defence of the realm. Mahon sneaked beyond Nsiala and McKeown flew out to smother. An unnecessary moment of concern for the local WI. There were three minutes of added time.

Arnold: sturdy, swift and slaloming through the purple haze. Just wide, just for fun. Passing, movement, Mackreth swishing down the left to the bye-line. Happy Jack looked up, rolled back and Arnold carefully, calmly steered in from ten yards. Can we go now?

No, not yet.

From the re-off Town swarmed. Arnold disrobed a Deviant and delightfully, delicately, dinked into the flight path of the Man on Fire. How de-lovely. John-Lewis took the ball on his thigh, let it drop and poked goalwards. Worsnip raced forward, stayed upright and the ball shinned away.

It's over, you can go home now.

In the end it was easy. At the start it wasn't difficult. But in the middle it wasn't anything more than adequate.

Pace. Intensity. Persistence. Putting in a little bit more than the opposition is all that it takes to keep the customer satisfied. A bit of thunder and lightning to stop words you never hear in the bible flowing down from the stands and over the internet. We're now winning these trundlethons against the bottom-halfers, so that's an improvement, isn't it.